This post is the last in my series Whatever Happened to Our Backbones. Previous posts are:
I started by talking about my mother who has recently undergone back surgery and asked the questions: Have we too lost our backbones and neither we nor anyone has noticed? Has the strength and vitality of our faith collapsed diminishing us to a mere shell of what God intends us to be? What is the backbone of our faith anyway? What are the things that contribute the iron and steel that makes us stand straight and tall in the presence of God and of those around us?
Throughout my posts I have emphasized our need to have strong foundations for our faith and recommended that all of us write our own personal creedal statement that encompasses what we believe about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our purpose on earth. What we believe about each part of the trinity should shape our entire lives. Belief is not passive it is active and in fact I am convinced that if we do not live out our faith in actions of love, compassion and mercy then it will stagnate, our backbones will collapse in times of stress and storm.
The Nicene creed ends with the words we look for the life of the world to come. As I reflected on that this morning I realized that the life of the world to come is not something that we hope for in the dim dark distant future. Our hope is not only in the full in breaking of God’s eternal world. The life of the world to come is being revealed every day as we work for justice and peace. The life of the world to come is revealed every time we reach out to help someone in need, each time we relieve suffering and each time we stand in solidarity with those who are despised and abandoned. God is at work in our world in us, through us and around us, bringing into being glimpses of that new world that will one day come in its fullness when Christ returns and all things are indeed made whole.
As we look towards Advent and Christmas this is central to our hope. We are not just waiting for the birth of a child who came to us in a manger two thousand years ago. Nor are we waiting only for the revealing of God’s new world in all its glory. We wait too for the new ways that God’s world will be unfolded in us through us and around us in the coming year. We wait for the signs that God is still healing, freeing and reconciling our world. Above all we wait in expectation for the many ways that God’s great love will be revealed to us in the coming season.